Council approves redesignation of lands at St. Vincent de Paul camp

Chatham-Kent Council approved an official plan amendment at its Sept. 18 Planning Meeting to allow the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Particular Council Kent Deanery to sell two vacant lots on its property for future residential dwellings.

The lots, both 0.43 hectares (1.07 acres.), front onto Longwoods Road on the St. Vincent de Paul campground property in Zone Twp. near Bothwell.

Low-density residential dwellings will be built on the lots.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society will retain the remaining 22.84 ha (56.36 ac.) and buildings to continue its summer camp operations.

Council approved the redesignation of the severed portion from Recreational Area to Suburban Residential Area to permit the home builds.

The campground will retain its Recreational Area designation.

East Kent Ward 3 Councillor Steve Pinsonneault entered a successful amendment to remove the item in a recommendation that required St. Vincent de Paul pay $1,000 in lieu of parkland dedication.

“This organization is basically dividing these lots up because they need the money,” Pinsonneault said, as the St. Vincent de Paul Society has not been open since 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the camp’s closure in 2020, while staff and funding shortages kept the camp closed in 2022 and again this summer.

“The thousand dollars isn’t going to make or break us in any way,” stated Pinsonneault.

Chatham Ward 6 Councillor Conor Allin supported Pinsonneault’s request.

“These guys are pretty much all volunteers who run this camp, and the thousand dollars will pretty much have to come out of their pockets,” Allin said.

Council approved the zoning change and removed the $1,000 fee against the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News